Coming into a job as a MSI Learning Assistant for Statistics as a second year psychology student was very intimidating to say the least. Not only was I one of the youngest of my colleagues but I was very aware that I would be younger than the students I was tutoring so the age gap was intimidating. However I had to constantly remind myself that I got my job as a tutor because I had the skill sets to tutor the given class due to my prior success in it, and my interpersonal skills. Prior to becoming a tutor I had received an A+ in Statistics. I was very surprised because in high school I barely passed with a C. However knowing that I did poorly in this class in high school I was destined to do well in college which ultimately led me to my job I am so grateful for.
I believe my background as a Psychology student and working with people while I babysat and volunteered served as one of the best tools I had coming into this job. I state this because there are plenty of people who do well in classes but not all of them have the personal qualities that will make them a tutor. I believe my past in not succeeding but still preserving made me more relatable to the students and ultimately made them feel more comfortable with me and helped make a more productive learning environment.
As I previously mentioned I am a Psychology student tutoring Statistics, so the fact that I was not an Engineering major or science major made me feel subpar almost because almost all my tutees asked me if I was. Upon finding out I wasn’t ended up surprised because they did not expect me to “be smart” enough to tutor a math course. Despite being offended I simply brushed it off and realized that me being a female Psychology student who was also a math tutor ultimately did more good and broke stereotypes. So my best advice to those who may be insecure in their potential tutoring remember you have your job for a reason, and you have all the skillsets to do your job exceptionally and your mind can be your own worse enemy. I had to learn to reconstruct my thoughts about my ability so I can prove to myself and my tutees that relied on me that I can live up to my title. I believe struggling with my own personal confidence in my tutoring ability was the biggest hindrance for me.
Once I was more confident in myself I realized that my sessions ran smoother because the tutees rely on me, and if I give off the vibe of uncertainty they won’t feel comfortable and the learning environment will be deterred. So upon my attitude change all my sessions got better and I realized that I stopped worrying so much about myself and more about the students which led to more interactive work with them because I was talking less and letting them talk more. I then acted more as a facilitator and not a teacher, I always encourage conversation with the students and encouraged them that they know more than they think they do, and that they are their own best teachers. I gave them what I once lacked which was confidence.
Overall from my education in learning how to be a tutor and facilitator from Education 96 I learned that the way we view ourselves and our education greatly influences how we will perform. I also learned that working in groups is better than working alone. It may seem obvious to some but I learned the reasons why which I feel like is the more important part because I always come across those students who shy away from collaborative work. However since I now am educated on the benefits of peer to peer learning and studying I can tell them the benefit of interacting with others rather than just telling them to just because. Lastly I learned that patience is really a virtue that should always be practiced, especially as a MSI tutor. That is so because anyone can come to your sessions, and everyone has different personalities and learning styles and you as the tutor have to learn how to cater to all of them and put your personal comfort and references aside and cater to the student while remaining ethical of course. Even though I may have illustrated this job to be daunting it has provided me with some of the best lessons in life I have ever learned, and is also very rewarding. Being able to walk around campus and see previous students I tutored tell me how much I helped them is priceless.